Archive | Tech

Achieving Faster Performance on a Lenovo X230 – Kingston HyperX Memory Upgrade

After reading about memory upgrades online, I tried my own, thanks to a Christmas gift from Dad. Went from one 4GB stick, default Samsung stick installed in the Lenovo x230, to Kingston HyperX 2x4GB.




With: Kingston HyperX Plug n Play 8 GB Kit (2x4GB Modules) 1866MHz DDR3 SODIMM Notebook/Netbook Memory 8 Dual Channel Kit (PC3 15000) 204-Pin KHX1866C11S3P1K2/8G

+1.6 in Memory

+1.7 in Desktop 2D Graphics

.3 in Gaming 3D Graphics


From CPU-Z:


I called Kingston and they confirmed that if you multiply (dual channel) DRAM Frequency by two, you have the total RAM Speed, which is 1863.6 for me (1866 advertised).


Teach Me: What is a Social Networking Service? [Part 2, Weak Type]

This is the final part of a two-part article in which I break down how to classify social networks and the strengths and weaknesses of both types. The type (strong type vs. weak type) is defined as the reason why users use that network and not necessarily the quality of that network.

In part 1, I talked about strong type social networks like Cyworld and Facebook, in which social relationships are based on real-world/offline connections.

In today’s article, I talk about weak type / content-based social networks and how this classification is relevant to Vietnam.

Type 2: Weak Type (“Content-Based)

A weak type friendship model describes a social network which uses content to build social interactions between its users. Examples of weak type social networks in Vietnam include Zing Me, Go, and TamTay. Internationally, weak type networks include Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.


Weak type networks typically share the following attributes:

· Users join primarily to enjoy content (games, entertainment videos, music) and engage other users around that content.

· Users choose anonymous identities to avoid revealing personal information and will share personal content (photos, videos with friends and family) less frequently.

· Initial growth can be immediate as quality content drives new traffic. However, traffic begins to slow down unless the network can sustain new content acquisition to bring in users from new demographics.

Weak type networks can provide impressive short term (1 to 2 year) growth potential. As long as the network has something interesting to pull in users (music streaming, social games, entertainment videos, hot photos), it is relatively easy to gain traffic. Additionally, the registration process for such networks is less rigorous, making it easier for users to join and participate right away.

This lack of emphasis on real identities and user security requires less investment on technology and development, making it simpler and easier to launch a weak type network. Internationally (outside of Vietnam), weak type networks outnumber strong type networks by a factor of 10 to 1.

However, weak type networks frequently have trouble reaching exponential growth rates as they reach a limit based on the core audience for their existing content. A network (see Zynga for an international example) that depends on great social games has two distinct difficulties. One, it must continually bring in new games to excite its audience. Two, to grow its audience further, it is challenged to convert non-typical gamers to new gamers or bring in new types of content (music, videos, gossip news) to expand its audience.

Weak type networks that have limitations in content acquisition will recycle their user growth over the long term. As users age and enter different phases of their lives, the content users enjoyed as 18 year olds rarely have the same appeal when they graduate from university at 21. These users often transition to strong type networks, while new, younger users replace them on weak type networks.

Successful weak type networks like Twitter are able to avoid audience migration, however, with incredible amounts of content. 250,000 people post a status update onto Twitter each minute; there are over 500 million users total worldwide. No matter one’s age, demographic or interests, there are interesting people to follow who are updating multiple times per day. Twitter users do not focus on following their friends – instead, they use Twitter to follow celebrities, news, brands, and content curators (people who highlight the best news and contest around the Internet). These are primarily people they do not know in real life. Twitter has become a ubiquitous platform for receiving user generated content from other users all around the world.

Content consumption is a major factor why weak type networks are easier to grow initially, but struggle to maintain accelerated growth unless they are able to resolve content development issues. Vietnamese weak type networks have been highly dependent on manufacturing, licensing, or copying content from international markets. Successful international weak type networks, however, achieve sustained growth from their users creating content for other users to consume for free, eliminating most content costs.

At this point in time, Vietnamese users have not shown the same eagerness to create content at the same level as their international peers. Internet research firm comScore ranks Vietnam 1st in Asia for content consumption per user, but only 10th in content creation. This suggests that weak type social networks may have significantly lower long term growth potential than their strong type counterparts in Vietnam.

The ultimate growth potential of a weak type network depends on content acquisition costs. As the number of weak type competitors increases, this dramatically increases the cost to acquire unique, differentiating content. Particularly with music, video, and game content, Vietnamese weak type networks may soon find it more difficult to survive once they are required to pay licensing fees to local and international license holders.

In contrast to strong type networks, which re-enforce real world relationships online, weak type networks find much greater difficulty integrating user commerce. Since users can be relatively anonymous, they do not trust each other in a weak type environment. Thus, convincing users to directly conduct financial transactions online with one another as is done with Facebook or Cyworld is very difficult. In weak type networks, transactions may be advertised online, but they would be need to concluded offline, where users could meet each other face to face. This situation is similar to transactions conducted online via forums or classifieds ads services.

Social behavior on weak type networks also tend to revolve around the content being consumed and not the day to day lives of the user. Thus, users may discuss and enjoy a funny video together, but will not discuss their personal lives together as they might with friends and family offline or in a strong type network.

To better understand strong type and weak type networks from a cultural perspective, we can imagine the users in a weak type network as people who go to an English-language club or watch a football game at a café. The people who meet at these gatherings may have friendly chatter as they enjoy a common interest together, but once the event (content) is over, they no longer engage with each other and go home. Thus, these users have a social connection over content but are not normally friends otherwise.

Users in strong type networks, however, are true friends. If you imagine sharing your baby photos on a strong type network, your friends would respond to your photos because they are your friends and care about you. However, if you were to share those same pictures in a weak type network, people would only respond if there were something interesting about the photos, such as if the photos were incredibly funny. Otherwise, they would not respond because they do not have that personal friendship connection with you.


I hope this breakdown helps you look at any social network and immediately understand it strengths, weaknesses, and future projections. If you have any questions or feedback, please comment below!


Teach Me: What is a Social Networking Service? [Part 1]

Often, people will ask me about social networks and how they differ from each other. In some ways, all social networks are pretty much the same. I don’t mean just “SNS”-labeled services such as Facebook, Cyworld, or MySpace. Forums or even Pinterest and Yelp can be classified as social networks as well.

In this two-part article, we’ll break down how to classify social networks and the strengths/weaknesses of both types.

Social Networking Theory: Strong Type versus Weak Type

What users do on social networking services is very similar. A user can set up his profile page and upload various types of content, typically including blogs, photos, and videos. Beyond that, social networks let users keep in touch with their friends on the network as well as make new friends. As I mentioned above, a social network doesn’t have to be labeled a social networking service in order to actually be one. YouTube fits this description, as do many forum communities.

If you were to break it down, however, there are two core types of digital social networks – strong type and weak type. The type is defined as the reason why users use that network and not necessarily the quality of that network.

Type 1: Strong Type (“Friendship-Based”)

A strong type friendship model describes a social network in which the primary motivation for participating is to share and communicate with one’s friends. Thus, the focus is the relationship between friends. Facebook and Cyworld Vietnam are examples of strong type social networks.

Cyworld Vietnam

Strong type networks typically share the following attributes:

· Users join primarily to communicate with offline friends.

· Real identities are emphasized to create long-term trust among users, who prioritize trust and privacy in order to feel comfortable revealing private information and thoughts publicly.

· User growth in strong type networks can accelerate over time, as people, even those who would not normally care about online communities, feel social pressure to join and use the network with their friends.

To operate a successful strong type social network, there are several service requirements.

. Online users tend to be reluctant when asked to provide real identity information through photos and personal details. However, those who agree to join implicitly understand that everyone else in the community is also a real person. When a trusted and safe environment for users to communicate with each other is established, the emphasis on real identities serves as a deterrent for spreading misinformation and abusing other users.

Strong type networks also remove the stigma of an online transaction. People feel the other person is real and is comfortable dealing with him as if sitting face to face. This trust allows more natural, social communication that reflects daily life as well as opens potential ecommerce opportunities, including both Business to Consumer (B2C – ex. and Consumer to Consumer (C2C – VatGia, transactions.

Today, Facebook participates in commerce through the use of their currency Facebook Credits – any financial transaction made on Facebook earns the website 30% of all revenue. In addition, many third-party C2C ecommerce websites now force users to register via their Facebook accounts as a way to guarantee the safety between two parties. The seller or buyer is no longer viewed by the nickname “matmotmi” but known by her real name, “Le Bao Thy”, and shown with her real photo.

Beyond real identities for users, privacy and security are additional requirements for strong type networks. Strong privacy and security allows users to control what information is shared to the public. Although most users will enjoy sharing their content and updates with the public, knowing that they fully control access to it gives users confidence that they can be their true selves with other users on the network. This naturally feeds into security – when users want to share specific information with only their friends and family, they must also trust that the social network has the technical ability to protect their information.

For companies looking to create a strong type social network, this means that additional investment must be made to ensure that the social network supports the latest content encryption standards and is resistant to hacking and viruses, all without affecting the end user experience. In general, a safe environment must be created for the user without him having to really understand or think about it.

A potential drawback in starting a strong type network is that the initial launch can be more difficult compared to weak type networks. Users can be more reluctant to join strong type networks and reveal their real personal information. However, once the difficult seeding phases have been bypassed, continued user growth becomes more viral. Exponential growth can be achieved as people, even those who would not normally care about online communities, feel social pressure to join and use the network with their friends. This type of growth is rarely found in weak type networks.

Together, real identities, privacy, and security combine to create a strong type environment that mirrors how people interact with each other in the real world, encouraging authentic communication within communities.


Later this week, I’ll talk about Weak Type social networks. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know!


My Approach to Web and Product Design [Rebuilding ISpitHotFire]

To understand online marketing and product concepts, I really recommend making your own website rather than just relying on case studies or articles. That doesn’t mean you have to make it from scratch – you can use an existing template or Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress. There’s a big difference even from using a Tumblr,, or Blogspot versus hosting your own website.

From the early steps of securing a domain, choosing a hosting plan, setting up the site, and then tracking Google Analytics, you’ll gain a great sense of how people really use the Internet. Once you have put something together, it will be clear how you can use what you’ve learned in becoming a better marketer and product manager.

Every few years, I look to update this website. I’ve had it since 2007, and I think this is the fourth major revision I’ve done. As my own knowledge and experience of online grow, so do my expectations of how to make my website better (easier to use, easier to find content, etc.).

In this article, I’ll talk about each aspect of the design that I considered and what I wanted the site to be as a product.

My Goals

When I first approached the redesign, I thought about how I typically read blogs and studied how most users come to mine. These are no longer my Xanga days, so most people visiting are coming through search engines – a few hundred visitors per day. I used to want all sorts of features and ways to find content, share it, etc. This would result in things like 15 different social sharing buttons after each post or 10 different flags to instantly translate the blog into a certain language. The reality is that no one used them. People would come and view one page, perhaps contact me and that’s about it. Things like showing Popular Posts, my Twitter feed, or links to all my public profiles on other social networks were meaningless – people didn’t care.

As sad as that could have made me feel, when I visit other people’s blogs, I feel the same.  I got over it.

In this revision, I wanted to:

  1. Focus on the reader – make it easy to read and focus on a particular article. Make it easy for him to read it, no matter the device or reading environment.
  2. Simplify the site – hide or remove unpopular features. Streamline the experience. Remove my ego from the design. Make the experience consistent and predictable.
  3. Make it aesthetically pleasing in the process (difficult, but a lower priority than 1 and 2)

Promoting Readability – Responsive Layout and Targeting Screen Sizes and Resolutions

I wanted I Spit Hot Fire (ISHF) to be easy to read on any type of device and screen size. That meant an eye-relaxing experience suited for people in today’s typical reading environment.

This site’s content is built for 1100 pixel width, targeting users who have at least 1366 (width) x 768 (height) screens. My Lenovo Thinkpad with a small 12.5 inch screen uses this resolution, but I also use a 1920 x 1080 32” monitor at home. It’s a two column layout, with 78% of the horizontal space dedicated for content (left) and 22% for the right column. I feel that too many websites are still designing for users on 17 inch monitors or 1024 x 768 resolutions. Those users, particularly in the USA, are gone. It is very difficult to buy any monitor less than 20 inches or 1600 x 1200 in resolution now. Only laptops use lower resolutions, and most of those will be at 1366 x 768 or higher. Even small 10 inch screen tablets like the Google Nexus, iPad 3/4, and Amazon Kindle Fire are already using ultra-high resolutions of 1920 x 1080 or higher. (Look at your site’s Google Analytics to learn more about what your visitors use)

This change in bigger screens means that there is more space available on screen for websites to utilize.

You should use that extra space! For photos, this works really well. By adding more photos or making them larger, you can really maximize the experience. Below is my Smugmug Photo Gallery at 1920 x 1080. At smaller resolutions, Smugmug will automatically adjust the number of thumbnails (left) and size of the photo (right), so that content is always maximized. Social media sites like Pinterest and Google+, both of whom focus on visual media, do this well.

While extra space is great for photos, the situation is more complex for text. If you imagine the screenshot above being all text, you can probably see that scanning – look at the size of the text at the top and imagine reading it from one side of a large monitor to the other – would be a bit tiresome and unnatural. In the past, text-heavy sites like newspapers would limit a column of text to only about 600 pixel width. This worked well for smaller monitors, but I don’t think it’s as applicable today.

Below is what I see when I visit the New York Times website on a 1920 x 1080 monitor.

Almost half the site is completely empty – this could all be used to highlight visual content. Worst, the font size for the visible area is small, so you have to strain a bit to read it. In my opinion, the Times throws away a great opportunity to create a stronger impression with its content.

Learning from this, I wanted to create a more natural reading experience for today’s user at higher resolutions.

Below is I Spit Hot Fire on a 1920 x 1080 screen (larger monitors for desktops) – lots of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the background.

On a 1366 x 768 screen (smaller monitors, laptops)– much less city landscape visible. Even at a lower resolution, the user can start getting into the content immediately without scrolling down.

I use a responsive layout that was orchestrated by the Canvas theme from WooThemes. I wanted a layout built for higher resolutions that wouldn’t cause tablet or mobile users at lower resolutions to have bad experiences. In addition, I didn’t want to apply a new theme, mobile app, or a new design specifically for those users. This is where responsive design made sense. (For more info on various approaches, see Fixed vs. Fluid vs. Elastic Layout: What’s The Right One For You? and Inspiration: Fluid & Responsive Design)

At 700 Width (imagine a mobile phone device), the layout’s right column and menu are adjusted automatically to below and above the post:

For mobile users, the responsive layout reacts well, retaining the elements of the core theme but not forcing the user to pinch or zoom to use the site. It’s not as good an experience as creating a mobile-focused version, but it’s still quite good, and you save a lot of time and effort from trying to create multiple versions of a site, particular if you are not a developer or designer (I am neither).

I have tried out I Spit Hot Fire on mobile devices, a 32” monitor, and a 12.5 inch monitor. In those cases, the experience has been good.

One potential problem I need to look into: I wonder how the site fares if you are using it on a small screen, high resolution tablet like the iPad 4. I wonder if the site looks like the New York Times example in the screenshot above.

For non-mobile screens, my site is essentially a fixed layout – nothing changes no matter the resolution except for the background image. The box (the entire area on top of the background) grows smaller and smaller as your resolution gets higher. In that sense, it’s similar to the New York Times. What’s different is that I use 25% more area width (from 600 to 750 pixels) while also increasing the font size to facilitate reading. This site’s navigation menu inside the header and right column are both smaller and more simplified so it’s easier for the user to focus on the blog content rather than getting distracted to other links or images. The Times’ right column takes up 37% of the site’s width while ISHF’s right column is 22%. See below to compare the emphases on reading (images below are true to scale and can be compared directly to each other).

I don’t mean to imply that the Times doesn’t know what they’re doing. The New York Times is a newspaper business, so their goals are much different. However, I think the comparison is good to understand the different objectives of the two sites. The Times sacrifices usability and article readability in order to distract you with its other content in hopes you’ll stay longer on the site, so that you eventually love it and buy a subscription. ISHF lets you read what you came for and does more of a passive, less intrusive promotion of its other content.

Font Size, Font Type, Line Spacing, and Font / Link / Background Colors

To research font sizes, typography and colors, I looked at Design for Developers. Idan Gazit suggests line spacing of 1.3 EM to 2.0 EM, and font sizes of 16px for great readability. He also suggests using two different fonts, at most, and using a San-serif font for titles and a Serif font for normal text.

I followed all his advice, using 1.5EM for line spacing, Georgia for the body font, and Helvetica for the titles and headers. I didn’t put much thought into which fonts to use, I just tried two standard fonts and they looked fine. My only criteria was to use something different from Arial or Times New Roman that looked nice.

For the font color and background, this was a bit more difficult. I knew that I should adjust colors and sizes so that users could instinctively understand what could be clicked, what was more or less important, etc. I researched the best background colors for reading but I didn’t find any clear-cut answers. Some people online liked grayish or slightly muted tones (beige) to ease eye strain. I succumbed to the TV store display trap – to me, white was the brightest and looked the best but others considered it to be a bit of sensory overload. Both Ha and my sister felt white looked too boring and typical.

In the end, my sister suggested the current blue/gray tone, #cad8d9, which along with the black fonts (all are lighter than the darkest shades) on the site, works reasonably well. I still think I like white more, but I allowed myself to be outvoted on this.

Perhaps the most difficult part of my decisions has been around the link colors. Today, there seem to be no standard colors for links. I do not know if this is a good or bad thing, but with my focus on usability, I wanted to revert to standards even if less websites are going by them. After referencing this discussion on Stack Overflow, I found the colors and implemented them across the site.

The only areas that do not follow this scheme are the Post Titles (no reason to highlight these as links because you are already reading that post), the website logo (its purpose is to be a logo, not a link), navigation menu, Google Adsense ads (it can have slightly different formatting from the site in order for users to intuitively feel the ads are not part of the website) and right column widget (I decided it is more similar to the top Navigation Menu in function and color scheme).

While it can be argued the site looks worse for following these standards, I now find it really easy to know what can and cannot be clicked on, particularly what I have already viewed. This latter detail is something I feel that very few sites are showing anymore. Visit TechCrunch or Tech in Asia, for example, and you won’t be able to tell which articles or links you’ve already clicked on, and I think this trend is bad for users.

Another pain for me was deciding about how links should be handled. I decided that links found within a blog post’s text (for any new posts I write from this point onwards) would open a new tab/window so the user could continue reading the blog post. However, any link that was outside of it (navigation menu, right column widget, post-bottom, footer) would take the users there directly with the reasoning that the user was not reading the blog post anymore at that point.

Header / Navigation Menu / Search

As I mentioned earlier, this site uses the Canvas theme from WooThemes. It’s a good starter layout, and lets you choose among many different customization options straight from your admin module. I did end up using Firebug and adjusting some items manually, but overall, you have a very good level of customization out of the box.

What I hate about a lot of sites today, particularly blogs, is that you have to scroll down a lot before you get to the content. I’ve noticed this as a recent trend and my feeling is that it’s like a vanity license plate – it’s for the website owner, not the reader. As I mentioned, I’ve been the victim of that mentality in the past myself.

I wanted a user to be able to access the content quickly without having to scroll (this is considered content that is “above the fold”). Let him start reading what he came for in the first place without any additional work. Thus, I minimized the header section, avoiding putting a big “splash” image or “cover photo” there that would take up half the screen. I made a simple logo for I Spit Hot Fire using the Lobster font and put the navigation menu with a search box alongside it. Strangely, I see a lot of blogs with search boxes below the fold in the right column, or even in their footer, essentially making the feature useless.

Since most of my visitors don’t really use the other sections of the site, I wanted the menu to be something you could find when you needed it, but not necessarily be constantly reminding the visitor of its presence. Only the current tab is highlighted, with the other tabs using the primary color of the site, blending into the background without sacrificing legibility. This way, I think it’s very clear where you are but there’s still clear differentiation between tabs. Everything in the More+ is just extra. Instead of featuring tons of features for content discovery, such as cloud tags or multiple widgets, I simply use the one widget in the right column and show my most popular writing categories in the “I Often Write About:” section. Subscriptions are hidden as well, though I use the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin (you may have seen it in action yourself on this blog post!) to help promote subscription services to first time visitors.

Overall, this menu / search structure follows a default setup that most people are both familiar with and expecting online.

Right Column

As you read this post, you may have noticed that the right column automatically scrolled down with you. I looked for a solution that wouldn’t feel jumpy, like it was following the user as he scrolled – that tends to happen with Javascript-based solutions. I imagine that when users come to the site, they read the article first.  I wanted to give readers an easy way to learn about the author without having to scroll all the way back up. The user can simply look to the side to learn about me and potentially contact me. Instead of laying out all my social media profiles, my LinkedIn will give a focused context into who I am and what I do. The posts widget below those simply gives a quick look at what I’ve posted lately in case something piques his eye. There are other tabs he can scroll through, but my expectation is that he won’t really care. I don’t emphasize them too much, and they don’t distract from the natural reading process.

I feel the right column is like this website’s remote control.

Post-Bottom, “Read More”, Google AdSense

If you’re on the site’s home page, you may notice that I only show 1 blog post at a time. I do that so each article gets proper attention, but to also speed up loading time. If you’re loading 5 articles at a time, that’s a slower experience for the reader. I also know that my web host (BlueHost) is a bit slow (I only pay the $10 a month for hosting), and I didn’t want to make the reader endure even more delay.

I’m against the preview snippet / “click to read more” strategy that blog home pages commonly use. As a reader, I hate that extra click and wait to load an article. I prefer being able to access content right away and then scanning to see if there’s additional content that I am interested in. This is another reason why the right column is set to scroll with the reader automatically as I wanted to give quick access to other content. The “read more” strategy may work if you’re a newspaper or a professional blog in which each article is tuned to generate page views, but I don’t think it fits personal blogs like this one.

For sharing options, I’ve tried to keep it simple. I could probably show no sharing icons and it really wouldn’t make a difference, but I decided to take up no more than one horizontal line for them.

I’ve implemented Google AdSense ads both at the bottom of single post view pages as well as the footers. Neither are ideal spots to generate click volume and ad revenue, but I thought it was more important to create a good reading experience. Thus, I’ve placed the ads in locations in which the user would only see them after he finishes reading – it’s not intruding on him. AdSense text ads are blended with the site color. This makes the ad less obvious and potentially less effective, but I have accepted that compromise, using a small white border and different text / link formatting in order to separate it from the normal site content.

Regarding the comments system, I’ve tried Disqus on and off over the past few years, but the reason why it’s not in there now is because it clearly causes a delay in loading the website. While nice, I felt producing a faster loading time for my visitors was more important.


The footer is where I satisfy my ego with content and features that I like but know they are not that useful for readers. Since it’s at the bottom, it has less of a chance to distract from the primary goals I mentioned at the beginning of the article. I have another AdSense banner spot here.


This is the background for the website. It’s a photo I took earlier this year in Ho Chi Minh City. You can see the Bitexco Financial Tower standing above its neighbors. Originally, I wanted to use a photo I took from Japan in 2012, but Vietnam is my home and I felt that the site aesthetics should reflect that, particular as I write about Vietnam quite a bit. I was originally going to do the site logo and tagline in Vietnam’s national colors, but this ended up being too difficult to read. This background  image has been compressed to 140KB. I wish it was a bit cleaner, but the actual photo is not that crisp to begin with – I do not think the sky was clear that day. I also felt that increasing the size wouldn’t necessarily create a better impression on the reader, but it would make the site slower to load. Ultimately, I chose reader experience over my pride. While trying different images, I had thoughts to make this image black and white to potentially make the content stand out more in contrast, but when I tried it, I felt that the color photo made the site more attractive and there was no actual savings in file size.

Ending Thoughts

I learned a lot remaking the site, really questioning what I wanted to do with the site, and how each change, no matter how minor, affected that vision. In fact, I’ve spent much more time adjusting minor things, such as testing small changes in font colors or sizes versus the more obvious “big” things like they general layout, logo, or background image.

If you have any feedback on the site or questions, let me know!


LinkedIn–What does a “Connection” Really Mean?

A couple of years ago, I wrote about my initial impressions from using LinkedIn. I was not so positive about it, and since then LinkedIn has shown that I know nothing, continuing its impressive growth in both users and profits.


Lately, I have been wondering about LinkedIn connections. In past work (and life) settings, connections really mattered. You had to work for them, though, and in theory, you could utilize them down the road. This also required you to actually know the person and be friends with him.

Carrying this concept online made sense – creating a good way to organize your real contacts and keep up with them. No more rolodex!

Today, I have “only” 161 connections. Almost everyone is someone I’ve met. If it’s someone completely new, I at least write an introduction in the invite and explain why I’d appreciate connecting with that person. I’ll even do that with people I may have met just incidentally or haven’t talked to in a long time. Otherwise, why should that other person connect with me, right? It’s no different from a friend-based social network – only accept your real friends.



I’m also this way about accepting invites. Yet, no one who doesn’t know me has ever introduced himself when he sends an invite – all the people in the image above just sent me the blank template invite. I’ve sometimes asked people why they want to connect to me, and for those that do respond, it tends to be “just because”. No care is taken to write a personal message of introduction or perhaps lead into a real discussion. I actually wouldn’t mind meeting most of the people who invite me to foster that real relationship, but the way they approach it actually makes me think they don’t care about me, they just want to pad their stats. Most people who send me invites are in Vietnam, so perhaps this is more indicative of the current culture here, but are connections like game “points”?

Is the goal to win LinkedIn by collecting as many connections as you can regardless of any true relationship?

I’ve heard of people in the USA being graded on the number of their Facebook friends as an indicator of their social media prowess. I wonder if other LinkedIn users look at me and assume I’m a nobody.

I’d love to know more about you use LinkedIn:

  1. Is it important for you to have a real connection with a LinkedIn connection?
  2. Does the number of LinkedIn connections have any significance to you when you look at other people?
  3. If you’re someone who happily invites and adds other users randomly, why? Could these connections lead to a better opportunity down the road? This method certainly doesn’t work in offline settings, especially in Vietnam, so I’m interested in the reasons for this approach.

If the reason to add connections is so that when you need a job or help, this will maximize your reach, I don’t agree with that at all. If you don’t know or care about someone, why would you pay attention when they post? That’s just spam (unwanted messaging) that no one likes and everyone just ignores. What’s more likely is that you’ll block that person so they don’t appear in your feed again – this is no different from needing to have proper audience targeting of a marketing message.